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Newborn Early Screening Team (NEST)

Phoenix Children’s provides care for babies who are born early or with complex medical conditions and need specialized care -- in the NICU and for the early part of their lives. After your baby leaves the NICU, our Newborn Early Screening Team (NEST) provides an in-depth developmental assessment to identify what your child needs to meet their developmental milestones. We will help in the coordination of additional services – including specialists –  and provide you with resources and education to assist in your child’s development.  


NEST Clinic/NICU Follow-up Clinic

The Newborn Early Screening Team (NEST) Clinic at Phoenix Children's specializes in the developmental care of premature and at-risk babies. We make sure families have the resources their baby needs from infancy into early childhood, and give parents the tools and support they need to help manage this time in their child's lives.

The goal of the NEST Clinic is to provide the extra support babies need after they "graduate" from neonatal intensive care, or if your pediatrician has concerns about your child meeting developmental milestones before the age of 3. This includes continued monitoring and early intervention by our multidisciplinary team of developmental experts with advanced education and training in pediatric therapy, including:

  • Occupational therapists
  • Physical therapists
  • Speech/language pathologists
  • Social Services
  • Neonatologists
  • Neurologists
  • Developmental Pediatric physicians

Evaluating your baby’s needs

The NEST Clinic team will conduct an initial evaluation as soon as possible after your baby leaves the NICU and is at least six weeks of age.

Our team of therapists use a standardized tool, the Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development, to evaluate your child's development compared to other children of the same age. This tool measures five areas, including:

  • Cognitive development
  • Gross motor skills
  • Fine motor skills
  • Expressive speech
  • Receptive speech

The results of our evaluation determine the need for further assessment, additional therapy or a referral to a medical specialist. Once we know your child’s needs, our team will help coordinate their care and make sure he or she is getting the therapy, treatment and medical care needed to minimize long-term challenges.

As your partner in your child’s care, we will give you a detailed home program to help your child reach his or her maximum potential early on.

The NEST Clinic visit

Once your child has been evaluated by the NEST therapists and physicians, you and your child will meet with one of the Phoenix Children’s NEST physicians who will review your baby’s medical record, obtain a comprehensive medical history and perform a physical exam. This physician will help to develop an overall treatment plan for your child, including the need for further assessment, additional therapy or a referral to a Phoenix Children’s specialist, including:

You and your baby will also meet with a member of our social services team. You will talk about your child’s plan and future needs. Phoenix Children’s social services team is here to provide support and assist with referrals to community resources.

Your baby’s care plan will include information or a schedule for recommended follow-up visits with the NEST team or Phoenix Children’s specialists. Having periodic visits helps us to identify any developmental concerns and address them early to prevent future challenges.

Who should attend the NEST Clinic?

Many of our patients come to the NEST Clinic after being discharged from a NICU in the community. Children under the age of three may also be referred by pediatricians or subspecialists for concerns about feeding, muscle tone or developmental delays.

The NEST Clinic helps children at risk for developmental delays, including babies with the following:

  • Any child who was admitted to an NICU for 5 days or more
  • Birth weight 1500 grams or less
  • Postmenstrual age (PMA) at discharge of 36 weeks or less
  • Grade III or IV IVH, PVL or cysts
  • Hydrocephalus
  • BPD
  • IUGR
  • HIE, neurological depression
  • Genetic syndrome typically associated with delays, excluding Down Syndrome
  • Discharge with supplemental tube feedings or known feeding issues
  • Multiple congenital anomalies
  • Drug Withdrawal

How do I schedule an evaluation?

To schedule an evaluation with the NEST Clinic you will need a referral from your child’s pediatrician.

You can fax the referral to 602-933-2436, or call the NEST clinic coordinator at 602-933-4411 for help.

Phoenix Children's accepts many insurance plans.

NEST Clinic locations

Phoenix Children's Hospital Outpatient Rehab Department

1919 E. Thomas Rd.
Phoenix, AZ 85016

Phoenix Children's Mercy Gilbert Pediatric Outpatient Rehab Center

3420 Mercy Rd., Ste. 121
Gilbert, AZ 85297

Phoenix Children’s Southwest Valley Specialty Care Clinic

1665 N. Avondale Blvd.
Avondale, Arizona 85392


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